Workers Memorial Day is an annual day of remembrance for the service given and lives lost in workplaces around the world. This holiday was started in 1970, right around the time that the Occupational Safety and Health Act was in the works and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was on the verge of forming.
Since the 1970s, efforts have been made to create safer work environments in all industries, and we’ve seen major improvements in working conditions throughout the years. Workplaces still aren’t accident free, though, despite our best efforts. It’s important to take days like this to think about all of the lives lost and severely impacted while paving the way to the workers’ rights that we have today.
Accidents can happen any time—that’s why they’re accidents. Employees don’t intentionally botch their jobs and cause injury, so it may seem like you can’t really control whether an accident will occur, right? While that sentiment is partially true, there are many safety precautions that you can use to minimize the risk of accidents.
Here are just a few of the basic strategies for preventing accidents in the workplace:
Safety and Equipment Training
The first rule of any job should always be to know what you’re doing before you do it. Always make sure you’ve been properly trained and qualified to perform any task and use any tool or equipment.
An untrained worker is a dangerous worker—to themselves and to others. It’s important to understand how to perform a task, what the related safety concerns are, and what to do in the event of an issue or emergency. If any of these factors is unknown, you are not qualified to do the job and are likely to cause a serious accident.
Most of us can become pretty busy on the job, causing us to set aside any housekeeping duties until the end of the shift. One of the most critical points of good housekeeping is that we keep our workspaces safe and hazard free, but this can’t work well if we leave the mess throughout the entire shift.
Be sure to maintain a clean, clutter-free workspace as often as possible to minimize the risk of injury. Things like wet floors, debris, scattered tools, and much more can become a major hazard at any time.
Diligence, Alertness, and Awareness
The easiest way to cause an accident is negligence. It is crucial that every employee be alert at all times on the job, especially when working with or near machinery or hazardous materials. This kind of preparedness on the job begins at home by getting a good night’s sleep and by leaving any issues at the door when you come into work.
Use your breaks and sick days wisely—they’re there for your safety and well being! Taking a break on the job is smart and responsible, not lazy. Overexerting yourself can lead to fatigue or exhaustion, which means you’re not at your best and you’re much more likely to cause an accident.
By taking these basic precautions on the job, you’re helping to keep yourself safe and healthy. Not only that, but you’re also playing an important role in preventing accidents for those around you.
It’s important to take a few minutes every now and then to think about all of the lives that have been impacted or lost on the job because of accidents. Those lives serve as serious reminders of just how important safety efforts are and of how far we’ve come in regulating workplace treatment and conditions.
Join us in remembrance this Workers’ Memorial Day, but don’t stop there. Make a serious commitment to the safety in your workplace today.